Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I wasn’t sure whether to put this in breeding or health - but here goes ...

first - I’m so excited hubby just surprised me with Raising Goats Naturally AND Just Kidding!! It’s hard to stop reading - but I have a question - that may be answered in the books but thought I’d ask now...

I have a doe that I had to pull kids on last March. After going through Denorah’s copper video course - I now suspect copper deficiency:(

I was too busy taking care of a weak legged kid, that I didn’t lavage her immediately afterwards. I did later that day- but not sure if cervix was Still open?

Because she had a whitish discharge about 3 weeks later I had the vet come out to see if she was infected. She said she didn’t think she was- but gave her a shot of biomycin anyway.

She has continued to have this discharge between heats with no other symptoms. Her discharge has never smelled bad like infection can. It sort of smells like a faint bleach/comet smell??

The vet didn’t think she smelled unusual either - but sadly I don’t have a vet around that knows goats!

I have been treating her with high doses of vite C plus Echinacea/Goldenseal garlic etc. I have flushed her with colloidal silver during heats when I think she’s open a few times.

She finally started drying up - then missed 2 heats. then today she had a lot of discharge and is her normal “ I’m in heat” self.

But the discharge is still not totally clear - maybe a tinge of pink. Still no smell.

At what point is it safe to put her with a buck? How do I know for sure any infection is gone - I doubt a vet around here would know - so I ask the experienced instead!:)

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Thanks for joining the group! Your situation is very specific, so it wouldn't be answered in any book.

First of all, your doe may have never gotten an infection. The only does we've ever had that got infections were those where we had our arm in them up to our elbow or for extended lengths of time -- like trying to rearrange kids for half an hour. Just reaching in to move a leg is not a big deal, assuming you washed your hands and weren't touching straw and the goat's head and then sticking your hand back inside. I generally wear gloves and squirt iodine on the glove, but that's it. I change gloves whenever I touch something outside of the goat. I have never put anything into a doe's uterus afterwards or done any flushing, and they've been fine.  

I tend to agree with your vet that your doe does not have an infection. White or clear discharge is normal. I do mention in Raising Goats that whether it's white or clear can give a hint about how long they've been in heat and how much you need to hurry to get them with a buck.

I wouldn't say your doe "missed" heats. Most goats do not come into heat during the spring and summer. I know a lot of sources say NDs breed year-round, but that trait is being bred out of them the longer they live in North America.

I think you're worrying about a lot of things that are not a problem, especially if this is your first goat. I know I was calling the vet and my mentor a LOT the first couple of years. The vet here was like yours -- ALWAYS suggested antibiotics EVERY time I called! After three times, I quit calling him because I knew what he was going to say, and I was not going to give my goat antibiotics if there was not a clear need. My mentor would always say that the goat sounded normal -- and she was right. I gotta say it's been 12 or 13 years since I've stuck my nose under a goat's tail to sniff her discharge.

If a goat has an infection, they're usually sick. They're off feed. They have a fever. It's obvious. Subclinical infections are not that common. You might be able to tell through blood work, if your goat has something subclinical going on, but I don't know of anyone who recommends doing that sort of thing routinely with a goat that doesn't have any symptoms.

Hope this helps!

Deborah/ you’re not only helpful - you’re hilarious!:) that part about sniffing cracked me up!

Just this morning I touched her “ kidding spot”, took my finger specimen in to get my sweet hubbys opinion of the smell - he agreed - not bad! The things goat people do!

I did have to go in to the wrist for the kids - both were perfect presentation - she was just worn out. I didn’t switch gloves as I should have- but continually poured iodine on them. Then lube.

Another thing that just hit me that I forgot is that she passed the afterbirth right away - but drug it around the straw for hours! Another sign of copper deficiency right?

I kept spraying it with silver and essential oil to try to keep it clean.

But still, like you say - infection would be obvious. Have you had a doe with a uterine infection? ( I’m not finished with the books yet;)

I’ll have to say it’s very hard to find any advice other than penn G 2x a day 5-7 days!

I love your way of raising goats! We have only had them 4 years - so I am so thankful you are willing to share all your experience!

Thank You for your valuable time!

We've only had one uterine infection that I recall, and it was as I said -- my daughter had her arm in the doe up to her elbow, and it took a long time to get things sorted out. The doe was off feed and had a raging fever in a day or two. She was quite obviously sick.

There was another birth where I had my hand in the doe for more than an hour trying to reposition the first kid. I watched her like a hawk for days, and she seemed to be fine. She didn't get an infection, but a month after the kids were born, her uterus filled up with fluid that caused it to block her bladder so that she couldn't pee. They tested the fluid, and it was not infected, which amazed me. Unfortunately her cervix was sealed tight, and there was nothing they could do to get it to drain, which is where I learned a lot about cervixes and pitocin and all that stuff. Since the only option was a complete hysterectomy, which is very expensive in goats because it's rarely done and dangerous ($1000+), we wound up having them put her down.

What you describe about the placenta is totally normal. It normally takes 2-3 hours to completely release. Retained placentas are a sign of selenium deficiency, but we're talking about at least 12 hours. There was a recent post on here where I mentioned "retained" placentas. Ruminants take a long time. Cows can apparently take weeks sometimes, and the vets at U of I are totally chill about it. Just watch for infection. I've had a couple of does that took more than a day, and both were fine. I had a ewe take a week, and she was fine, although it was in the early years, so I was giving her penicillin.

That is strange about your poor doe- that must have been a hard decision. And for it to happen after everything seemed ok. Sometimes it's just a mystery - you never know what to expect!

That is so amazing and comforting to hear your advice about the placenta! I'd have to say - I've never heard anything but warnings about placentas hanging around! That makes me feel much better.

I'm making sure the preg girls are getting their wheat germ oil for E- so hopefully they won't be selenium deficient. I have Thorvin kelp out free choice - Fertrell's minerals is in the feed I buy - and they have Fertrell's loose minerals. I hope that will be enough.

But could the inability for her to push out 2 perfectly presented kids - be a copper deficiency? It wasn't until after watching your videos- then when I saw her after kidding pics I noticed she had the spectacles around her eyes. I don't know how to add a pic on here - I would like for you to see it to see if it does look copper deficient.

If she doesn't have hair around her eyes, that's copper deficiency. It's pretty obviously odd and just as simple as it sounds.

Since I didn't see your doe in labor, it's hard to second guess everything. However, if you had your hand in her up to your wrist, and the kids were perfectly positioned, I'm thinking that she was fine and just needed more time. I would not have expected her to be actively pushing if the kids were that high still. Does do NOT push hard until the kid is putting serious pressure on the exit. That's one reason I don't break the amniotic sac. They'll be pushing like crazy if there's a bubble because they feel that pressure. I learned early on that if you break that bubble, they stop pushing hard.

I have one line of does -- it's multiple lines now that all go back about five generations to Sherri, who will be 15 this winter -- and they don't get very dramatic at all until the head is coming out. We missed so many of their births before we got a video camera because we wouldn't hear anything over the baby monitor until the head was coming out, so by the time we got to the barn, there was a baby sitting in a puddle of amniotic fluid, which is kind of scary when it's below zero out there.

The only does that I've ever had who gave up and stopped pushing were the two that I had to drive two hours to the hospital for a c-section, and I think a big part of the reason they quit pushing is because I put them in my car, so that freaked them out. 

If your doe seemed to be having a long first stage of labor with wimpy contractions, that could be calcium deficiency. I keep calcium on hand, and if a doe seems to be in early labor for more than a few hours, I give her a calcium drench. You are counting on the uterus contractions to get the kid down to the exit so that the doe feels enough pressure to start actively pushing. 

Alfalfa is high in calcium, which is one reason to start feeding it the last few weeks of pregnancy. Dr. Solaiman, the editor of Goat Science and Production, recommends at least 50% alfalfa hay for the last six weeks of pregnancy.

About wheat germ oil -- it has no selenium, but it is high in vitamin E.

If you haven't taken my class on copper deficiency yet, you can sign up here --

I think one reason people freak out about placentas so much is that human placentas come out fairly quickly, and a lot of human doctors are very impatient, so people just assume goat placentas should also come out fast. The other thing that doesn't translate from humans to goats is meconium passing before birth. I've had quite a few kids born with a nasty poop-filled sac, and they were all fine. Things vary a lot from species to species.

I could go on all day talking about goats, but this is probably way more than you ever wanted to know! LOL

I could never get tired of hearing goat stories/advice!! There's too much to learn.

I followed the warnings of all those other forums out there- 30 min of pushing - time to glove up! I will watch and wait more next time.

Great info about the bubble- that makes lots of sense.

I give them wheat germ oil for E when I heard it helps use selenium ... I thought it was you- maybe not.

Ok - about calcium and kidding...

I don't feed alfalfa hay - we have Perennial Peanut here in the south - almost the same calcium etc. as alfalfa. I do feed alfalfa pellets and keep Redmond conditioner (29:1 ) out free choice.

But here's a mystery I'm hoping you can help me with.

I had a doe 2 years ago that on her kidding day, stopped eating peanut, and started eating the coastal I had put down for her bedding. This is a doe that would never eat coastal if peanut was around.

She had a horrible kidding ( triplets with one kids head caught on a hip bone) long story short- she survived and is doing well. When the vet came out and ran tests on her blood - it showed she was low on calcium. She wasn't acting like she was sick- just sore and tired.

But I've always wondered - if she was low in calcium, why would she choose the high phosphorus coastal instead of the calcium rich peanut before kidding.

In trying to figure this out- we did have our water tested and it was high in calcium.

I came across an article that I can't find now - that explained how inorganic calcium ( water) competes for absorbsion with the good ( peanut) calcium.

All of our goats have to have their feet trimmed every month they grow so fast!

So I'm wondering if there is too much inorganic calcium being taken in, causing the good calcium to leave the body - and then getting deposited in the feet and who knows where else?

I'm hoping you can explain the science behind this and if it is a key to my mystery! Was my doe eating non calcium coastal so that the calcium would stop leaving her body? They are so smart sometimes:)

And yes- I'm in the middle of your copper course! I'm the one with the black goat that was convinced she had red moonspots:) I sent pics... I do believe what I learned saved her life!!:)

I hate concrete suggestions like do a vaginal check after 30 minutes of pushing. There's pushing and then there's PUSHING! I don't get too excited about wimpy pushing. You said your doe wasn't pushing, and the kids were high, so once her uterus pushed the kids lower in the pelvis, she would have started pushing seriously. The first 3-4 years we had goats, there were so many does that I thought were in labor -- sometimes days before they actually kidded, so no way were they actually in labor. Here's a Facebook Live I did this past spring. This doe went an hour between the first and second kid, but she wasn't pushing very hard, so I knew the kid was still high in the pelvis and wasn't too worried. (I'm always a little worried but am better at sitting on my hands now than I used to be.) One of the very long videos is very boring because she doesn't actually have the kid, and I finally decided to turn off the video because I was afraid my battery would die before she was done.

Hopefully it will do the whole playlist that I put together of the videos for the whole birth.

It is puzzling why the other doe wanted to eat a hay that she normally doesn't want to eat. I'm getting ready to head to the Mother Earth News Fair in Kansas tomorrow, so I don't have time to look that up right now.

I'm writing this at 3:30am - so worried can't sleep:( I put the doe in with my buck- all went fine. 2 days later she's discharging again - this time I'm finding crusty clear reddish stuff in her behind. Still not a really bad smell- no fever... But not eating as much grain though she does go out and graze and acts pretty normal most of the time.

But I have also caught her laying on her side, sort of pushing - sometimes grinding teeth.

I know it's impossible to give a diagnosis without being around her:)

I found a vet that will actually do a test on a swab - so we'll take that in Monday.

Now I'm worried about my sweet blue eyed red chamoise homegrown buck! If she has an infection after all - will he automatically get it too?

I don't like jumping to antibiotics unless needed. I went back to dosing her with high vita C and the buck also.

If she is infected, I wouldn't think an egg would be able to survive and grow would it?

I hear people on other forums using something called lutelyse (?) or oxytocin (?) like it was nothing - but I would prefer not to go that route.

If she is infected - do I have to treat her and my buck with antibiotics? I hope there is another way:(

I've been at a conference this weekend with limited Internet access, but ultimately, unless I had a crystal ball, I couldn't answer any of your questions with any degree of accuracy. I'm curious what you mean about taking in a swab to the vet. That is usually something a vet would do, so you'd take the goat in. You don't just use a cotton swab from your medicine cabinet at home. You could be picking up all sorts of microscopic bugs of who know whats.

Perception varies so much from one person to another. When I was new to goats, I thought goats were pushing in labor when they were still two days away from kidding, and I've had people on this forum have that same perception. If your goat is acting pretty normal most of the time, she's probably fine, and you're misreading cues. Goats lay on their side, and they chew their cud. It's just impossible to know what's happening without being there.

Don't jump to any conclusions. And I would definitely not use lutalyse. If she is pregnant, that would cause her to abort. 

I understand - you have limited info!:)

If she is pregnant - it’s only been a week - so it seems laying on her side and pushing isn’t normal:(

I’ve also seen her grind her teeth...

Plus I read that if she was infected - then conception would be impossible??

She still has no fever - no more discharge and is off feed except for hay and grazing.

I guess I didn’t find such a smart vet after all! That’s just what his instructions were- swab the vulva- put in plastic bag- bring it in!

I’m trying to avoid taking her in. She doesn’t travel well and is afraid of everything. But the mobile vets are expensive and don’t know goats.:(

We made the decision to start her on Pen G and start treating it like an infection. I read that uterine infections can be happening without a fever.

Good choice if it is?

I detest giving shots - something we haven’t done for a couple years!

Plus- when researching Pen G we came up with such varying instructions!

Always SQ or always IM - 1ml per 100lbs to 1 ml to 10lbs!

So if you’d like to throw in your view - it is welcome!!

This is so heartbreaking, she is our prize doe plus sweet and gentle. I don’t want to loose her :(
I'm changing planes in Chicago so don't have access to my references and I don't give out med dosages based on memory, regardless of how confident I feel about it. If I were this concerned about a goat I'd take her to a vet. I personally have to drive two hours to the vet school, so I know they are not always in everyone's neighborhood. But you really need to find a vet you trust. No one can do all of their own vet work. There are times when you need lab work done or a procedure that requires anesthesia, etc.
Thank You- Im sure I will have to do that... l’ll update when I find some answers!:)

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